Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

Ultimate X-Men #89

By Zak Edwards
January 15, 2008 - 23:56

In this one-shot issue of Ultimate X-Men, writer Robert Kirkman (The Waking Dead) has returned to his horror roots, in a sense, to deal with the Shadow King subplot that has been building in the Storm character for some time now.  The actual story is too familiar for a writer known for his horror, relying on conventions of jealousy and revenge on a past lover for the actual story.  This predictable and quite bland story unfortunately fits in with the uninspired writing of this failing series.  The upcoming Ultimatum event that promises to shake up the Ultimate Marvel Universe can only help this struggling series.  Until then, this series needs some new blood to help it along.

The cover is signed by Paquette, but the credits state Larroca.
The story starts out in media res, or in the middle of things, causing me personally to go back to the previous issue to see if I had missed something.  I didn’t, and unfortunately if I hadn’t been reading this series for the past year, I wouldn’t have missed much.  But here we are with a one-shot story that should be taking advantage of Robert Kirkman’s roots as a horror writer.  After the fight with a now very messed up Dr. Cornelius, the director of the Weapon X project, Kirkman slides into some inner turmoil for Storm, who seems to be dealing with some memory repression issues.  The story plays itself out very predictably, as I have have mentioned.  The Shadow King apparently lies within Storm’s subconscious and begins to whine and then wreak havoc.  Plot-wise, the story suffers, but in between the Shadow King story Kirkman actually has some interesting character development of both Storm and Wolverine.  This is the saving grace of what could have been another terrible issue.  Kirkman has some very good characters to work with and now he is finally exploiting this strength, something that has been taking a back seat, especially in the previous “Sentinels” arc.  Storm realizes some of her mistakes and discovers the changes she needs to make in her life while Wolverine attempts to change for the benefit getting the girl.  While the last line of the issue does hammer a very obvious point down, Kirkman is allowing these characters to act ways that are completely human and fitting to what would be expected of them.

Yannick Paquette has been replaced by an artist who has some experience with drawing the X-Men, Salvador Larroca.  Larroca has pencilled a lot of X-Men comic books, including the first 24 issues of Chris Claremont’s X-Treme X-Men, brings his experience to the Ultimate X-Men.  This pays off in this title, and it seems Larroca was having some fun with an issue that contains some very different material.  The scenes involving the Shadow King play around with both sharpened and dulled visuals, creating some contrasting panels that reinforce a warped reality in these sequences.  The initial action sequence suffers from some problems in communication.  Some of the more important actions is a little too subtle and easily missed.  The resemblance of the Shadow King character to Wolverine is a little overwhelming as well, but necessary.  Shadow King reminded me one some of the cover art from the mini-series telling the history of the mainstream continuity Wolverine, Origin, which is not a bad thing in any way.  The art helps create an enjoyable visual experience when the story suffers, which is for most of the issue.

6/10    Cool art helps make up for a boring plot that surprisingly has some good character development.

Last Updated: May 19, 2020 - 12:25

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